Making of Autobot with 3D Studio Max 9, 3D Tutorial


Making an AutoBot with 3D studio Max 9

by Tamas Tothfalussy

In this article I would like to show you what kind of methods I’ve used to create my picture ’Autobot’. I always liked transformers, and the movie gave me a huge inspiration to build one. The car form of it is one of my recent car models, a 1975 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray. I used 3D Studio Max 9 and Vray for modeling and rendering, the postworks were done with Photoshop.


Becouse I wanted it to be able to move and transform, I had to create bones for it too. Actually, I started with the bones - I made a biped first and transformed it’s parts to have a robot shape skeleton.

The modeling process looked like this: I modeled the robot’s body parts after each other from the head to to feet, and when one part was finished, I looked for a section of the car’s body that would look good there, cut it out and placed it on the robot like an armor, and linked them to the biped body part.

3d modeling arm 3d modeling leg 3d modeling torso

I always had to pay attention not to choose a section that is too far from robot part on the car in order to be able to create the transforming animation in the future. Not every armor parts are from the car body, but I tried to use as much as I can – you can see them darker on the pictures. For the whole robot (and the car too) I used poly-modeling and turbosmooth.


The car paint is a 4 layer VrayBlend material. The base layer has a low glossiness reflection and the red colour of the car with a fresnel type falloff texture, the second layer has black diffuse and a 1.0 glossiness fresnel white reflection. The third layer is the little dirt and dust on the paint, which means it is a simple black diffuse material with a dirt mask bitmap. The fourth layer is the damaged paint, so it has lightgrey diffuse and a low glossiness reflection, and a bitmap mask. This mask was used also at the VrayDisplacement map, to bevel the damaged part a bit. There aren’t unique maps for every red painted part on the bot, I made 6-7 different versions and some have been used multiple times.

For the robot body I made 5 metal materials. These are chrome, dirty chrome, a slightly blue steel, copper and a shiny black metal. The chrome is really simple, black diffuse, white reflection, and about 0.85 glossiness value. The dirty chrome is the same, but just like the car paint, I added an extra black diffuse layer with a dirt mask using VrayBlend. The blue steel is the main material of the robot’s body. I used a dark grey with just a little blue (RGB 60-60-70) for the diffuse, and a noise map with black and a lighter version of the diffuse color for the reflections. Glossiness is 0,8. The copper material has brown diffuse (80-50-35) and reflect (130-90-75) 0,75 glossiness and a dirt map applied just like the car paint. The shiny black is black diffuse, dark grey reflection and 0,8 glossiness.


For the lighting I used a Vray Dome light using a VrayHDRI texture. I wanted a little lighter area behind the robot, so I put there a Spotlight lighting the background.


I used Adaptive QMC Image Sampler and Catmull-Rom AA filter. GI was also used, Irradiance Map (Medium preset) for primary and Quasi-Monte Carlo for secondary bounces.


After some brightness, contrast and color correction I used the Burn and Dodge tool to improve some details. Finally came the title and author’s name and the picture was finished.
posted by Mandy, 1:05 PM